Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast television programmes then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

BBC Sparks Fury By Glamorising Poldark Rape Scene

The BBC, never averse to controversy, stands accused of glamorising and trivialising rape and sexual violence in scenes set for broadcast this evening.

Ross Poldark, lead character of the BBC One television series of the same name, uses violence to force himself upon former lover Elizabeth.

The BBC insists that the scene depicts consensual sex, but a preview of tonight's episode has left rape campaigners furious. Julie Bindel, a former Home Office appointed expert on the subject, was in little doubt: "We are seeing rape. It is irresponsible."

Leading criminal barrister Matthew Scott echoed that opinion: "It is rape. If I saw that in evidence on CCTV from a hotel room I would convict him."

The offending scene, which is set for broadcast at the end of tonight's episode, sees Poldark turn up unannounced at the home of his former fiancee Elizabeth.

Poldark kicks the door open with rage, annoyed that Elizabeth is set to marry his rival George Warleggan. He demands that Elizabeth calls off the wedding, but she refuses and demands that he leaves her home.

Poldark refuses, grabs her neck, pins her against the wall and forcefully kisses her. She continues to protest, but is overwhelmed by Poldark's strength. After a few moments Elizabeth was pinned on the bed by Poldark intent on sex. Towards the end of the scene it appears that Elizabeth accepts her fate and responds willingly to Poldark's lusty desires. However, by this stage she has already put up quite a struggle and said "no" three times.

Ms Bindel has voiced concern that the BBC has transformed an aggressive rape scene into something that Elizabeth appears to find enjoyable.

She said: "What they are showing is a woman enjoying rape. It's a rape scene that turns into a fantasy. This is one of the most damaging myths about rape. I think it's really pernicious."

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, a regular critic of the BBC, said: "By rewriting the original story to protect the on-screen reputation of the lead male character, the BBC has sent out two very disturbing messages – that no does not really mean no, and that women can enjoy forced sex."

The BBC, which knows all about sex crimes, maintains that the scene does not depict rape.

Karen Thrussell, producer of Poldark, defended the scene: "We've always been aware that the scene in question has been called controversial and that the controversy is all the more acute when an isolated instance is taken out of context. During the script process this was one of several scenes we discussed with Andrew Graham."

Andrew Graham is the son of Poldark author Winston Graham.

Poldark is on BBC One at 9 pm, for anyone that happens to have a valid TV licence.

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Saturday, 22 October 2016

TV Licensing Code 8 Strike Rates

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that TV Licensing managed to "catch" a TV licence evader at fewer than one-in-ten unlicensed properties it visited in 2014/15.

The TV Licensing Field Monthly Performance Pack for March 2015, which the BBC failed to properly redact, reveals that TV Licensing goons conducted slightly fewer than 3.5 million enforcement visits to unlicensed properties across the UK in the 12 months to 31st March 2015.

Of those 3.5 million visits, just under 338,000 "Code 8" prosecution statements were taken, which represents an average "strike rate" (TV Licensing's term) of around 9.7 percent.

Full data is included in the table below:

Month Visits Code 8s Strike Rate
Apr-14 278322 24889 8.9
May-14 235449 22530 9.6
Jun-14 314560 28483 9.1
Jul-14 330323 31446 9.5
Aug-14 289338 26789 9.3
Sep-14 338038 30998 9.2
Oct-14 332444 30443 9.2
Nov-14 298795 28842 9.7
Dec-14 196128 19621 10.0
Jan-15 249888 28671 11.5
Feb-15 284083 33814 11.9
Mar-15 350651 31419 9.0
Totals 3498019 337945 9.7

It should also be highlighted that over the same period of time only 174,000 people were actually convicted of TV licence evasion, which reinforces the fact that only about half the evaders TV Licensing claims to have "caught" face any sort of penalty. For the purposes of deterrence, TV Licensing claims to have a 99 percent conviction rate, but its methodology is seriously flawed to say the least (read more). In our opinion TV Licensing's 99 percent claim is disingenuous and out of context.

Statistics contained within the March 2013 and March 2014 Monthly Performance Packs are broadly in line with those above, so it is likely that the trend continues to the present day.

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Update: TV Licensing Secrets Incompetently Disclosed by BBC

You might remember that the BBC, in a characteristic display of incompetence, mistakenly failed to redact sensitive TV Licensing secrets contained within a Freedom of Information response it issued.

The BBC has sought desperately hard to conceal information about the number of TV Licensing abandoned prosecutions, search warrant applications and detection authorisations, but in one careless mouse-click the illusion of an effective and far-reaching enforcement regime has been shattered.

Knowing the way the BBC operates, the arsehole (as far as they're concerned) responsible for the oversight has probably been promoted.

As a result of the BBC's incompetence we now know, as a matter of fact, that in the 12 months leading up to 31st March 2015, TV Licensing's enforcement activities included the following:
  • Just as we suspected, there were no search warrants applied for in Scotland. We attribute this to the fact that the Scottish legal system would be far more robust than its England/Wales and Northern Ireland counterparts in analysing every TV Licensing search warrant application.
  • In the whole of the UK there were only 351 search warrants requests made by TV Licensing's Field Enforcement Division to the TV Licensing Legal Team. Of those TV Licensing made 256 search warrant applications to the courts, of which only 167 were actually granted.
  • Of the 167 warrants granted, only 115 of those were executed (97 successfully, 17 unsuccessfully, 1 unknown).
  • In London, there were only 2 search warrants granted by the court.
  • There were only 116 detection requests (not authorisations) across the whole UK, of which 115 were in England and one in Northern Ireland. We know that not every request is authorised, so the number of detection authorisations is probably much lower than that value. Forget any ideas about detector vans trundling up and down streets, pinpointing unlicensed Columbo viewers and making TV aerials twitch in fear - in reality the use of detection is virtually unheard of. That is a fact.
In the finest traditions of the national broadcaster, as soon is it realised it had dropped the ball it immediately started to cover its tracks and undo the damage. Sound familiar to anyone?

The BBC made contact with the WhatDoTheyKnow website, which had published the offending unredacted material. It asked WhatDoTheyKnow to remove the sensitive information, but we are pleased to confirm it has not. The BBC also contacted the TV Licensing Blog in relation to this article, which named the employee responsible for emailing the material to WhatDoTheyKnow.

WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer Doug Paulley made a follow up information request to the BBC. In it he sought any information produced by the BBC as a result of its earlier Freedom of Information blunder. With characteristic defiance, the BBC manufactured some half-arsed excuse for delaying its response to Doug's request, so he has now taken the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office.

The Commissioner contacted the BBC and gave it ten days to provide a response to Doug, but it has failed to do so. In what was heralded in a new era of transparency for the BBC, it appears the Corporation is still prepared to demonstrate contempt towards information rights and show two fingers to the associated legislation and regulator.

Doug has vowed to take the matter as far as necessary.

We will all be following very closely.

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